H recently had a reptile party for her seventh birthday. It’s important to look out for certain things when you book a reptile party and was something I hadn’t thought enough about. Here are some top tips for booking a reptile party.
Booking a Reptile Party – The Most Important Things.
• Is the Reptile party host DBS checked?
They don’t have to be. If you’re providing entertainment for children, it makes sense to have one. While it isn’t compulsory, it’s a reassurance.
• Do they have public liability insurance which is valid and up to date?
From the internet: “Public liability insurance protects you if clients or members of the public suffer personal injury or property damage because of your business”. This is pretty sensible if you’re working with animals, especially spiders and snakes. Right?
• Does the company have handlers who have experience or have qualifications?
Don’t be afraid to ask about their handling techniques or methods. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have reptile handling qualifications.
• Do they have a performing animals licence?
Not all reptile handlers do. Ask to see a copy of their certificate if they do. If they don’t, then why not?
• Do they have a website? Is the website up to date?
Check their Social Media accounts as well. READ REVIEWS! You can find reviews on Facebook and everyone is Googlable. If someone is good they’ll be being talked about. If someone provides a poor service, everyone will also talk about it. You make your mind up.
• Are they accredited by the Children’s Activities Association?
Some reptile handling companies are. This means their policies and procedures have had an independent body assessing them.
Booking A Reptile Party – Things to Ask.
• How many reptiles will they bring?
This could help you work out the most number of children to invite. They will be able to tell you.
• Will more than one creature be out at any one time?
This is a BIG question. You’re paying the handler to be in control of the creatures. If there are two creatures out, which one are they in control of? This rings alarm bells to me. Could you trust yourself to get a party guest out of bother if the handler is with another set of children? What exactly are you paying for? The animals or the handler? Both, of course.
• Is it okay to put a snake around your neck?
There are no rules or guidelines saying that you can’t. Lots of companies do it, and it isn’t bad business practice. Some reptile handlers are working towards a regulated industry to have this stopped. If a snake is around your child’s neck, the reptile handler should be close by. It may be more acceptable with a smaller species as long as the handler stays in contact.
• Does the host put spiders on heads/faces?
They should not. This is dangerous. The spider could blind you for one. If you see photos of a tarantula on someone’s face or head, avoid. Oh, and the spider isn’t keen on human breath either! This is DANGEROUS. Avoid. More to read here.
• What are the chances of conflicting animals being out at the same time and in the same vicinity? For example, a chameleon next to a snake.
This is dangerous. For obvious reasons.
• Is hand hygiene promoted?
It should always be, from start to finish.
• Is there ever a time you shouldn’t handle a snake?
When it has just fed or has shed. Ask your handler this, see what they say.
• Are children left unattended?
Children should never be unattended with most animals, especially snakes.
Booking a Reptile Party – The Booking Form.
What you need to see:
– Company address
– Email address
– Phone number
– Clear terms and conditions
– Ask to see a copy of risk assessment and handling procedures documents too.
What are they providing, what insurance do they have (get it in writing), and make sure you know what their cancellation policy is.
Think of it this way. If you book a soft play party for your child you get tons of pages to read and sign before booking. It isn’t unreasonable to expect that from a reptile party company too. Plus sometimes reptiles can get ill.
BIG ALARM BELLS if you don’t see a company address on there and an email and phone number. Messaging in Facebook isn’t a good way to contact someone. Remember our experience? You can get blocked by the company.
Booking a Reptile Party – Payment.
In an ideal world, you want to put down a deposit and pay the balance at the party. Some places might not ask for that, or might offer you a better deal if you pay in full. Bear in mind, if you need to cancel, your options will vary depending on how you paid.
Most companies will ask for a bank transfer. Maybe they’ll ask for Paypal too – most people accept it. Please make sure you send the money as a business – not as friends and family. You can’t issue a claim to get your money back, and you’re not friends with the reptile company. You’re entering a business agreement. They’re likely to be doing it to avoid PayPal fees.
Booking a Reptile Party – On the Day.
We received a list of the creatures that would be coming the previous night. This helped as I could let the other parents know, so they could pass it on to the children. A good reptile handler will keep you informed and you won’t need to chase them for anything.
These useful hints have been compiled with help from the Reptile Party Facebook Group, plus additional help from Lee at Reptylers and Maria at Amazing Animal Encounters. Thank you Andrea for the group existing, as without it we all wouldn’t have learned as much as we have about reptile parties.
The photos are taken from H’s excellent Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts Themed Party that we had, where Wild Fangs were our entertainment.
Other excellent and recommended Reptile Party Companies.